What Does Health Mean to YOU? Free Event TONIGHT: 7-8:30pm Bliss Spiritual Coop
The words Health and Wellness are used a lot in our increasingly health conscious world. But what does it actually mean to be healthy?
It seems like it should be a simple question, but often the answer isn't so simple and seems strangely illusive. What worked for you yesterday doesn't seem to work for you today. And the information out there seems overwhelming and often contradicts each other. Yet everyone claims to have an "evidence based" approach or to be the "expert" on your particular issue.
The truth is each of us is incredibly complex, unique, and ever changing. What works for me may or not work for you. And what works for you today, most likely will be different then what works for you 5 years from now, or even tomorrow. Like the seasons, our needs are constantly change. If you think about it seems obvious. Of course our needs are ever changing and won't be the same in the heat of summer versus the cold of winter. Of course one person's needs are very different than another person's. But how then do we achieve this illusive goal of "health?"
First off, to think you will ever achieve health is a trap. Sorry, but it is true. Health is a journey, not a destination. But that doesn't mean you can't feel healthier overall and less thrown by the next time a health crisis, big or small, asks you to change or re evaluate something. But the good news is you are your best guide on this journey. Sure, outside information and resources can help us, give us ideas to try, build our tool box so to speak, but in the end, you must be a scientist with your own body, mind, and spirit, and see what works for you. You are the expert you have been seeking.
But the tricky part is, many of us don't immediately know what we want or what works and doesn't work for us. Like an untrained scientist we fumble around, feeling like we are making a mess of things.
This is where someone like a health coach can be an incredible resource. As a health coach I see my job as not to give you recommendations or punish you when you eat that cookie, but to help you become a better scientist of your own body.
This means developing your skills of observation and awareness, your ability to design and implement experiments and evaluate the results, and your ability to navigate the constantly shifting and dynamic landscape that is your mind, body, and spirit. It means developing the ability to ask good questions and dig beyond the obvious to see if there are other factors or variables that perhaps are playing more of a role in our health and well being then we realize. And it is to help you develop a curiosity and a willingness to try something new and different.
With this mindset we often find that a seemingly simple goal, like weight loss, actually has many layers. Do you really want to lose weight? Or is it that you want to feel loved? Or is it that you want to be able to keep up with your child on the playground?
Understanding what the actual desire is often gives you valuable information to be able to design a better experiment. Such as, how else can you feel more desirable, other than just focusing on losing weight? Is it a conversation you need to have with a loved one about what love language makes you feel most appreciated and loved?
It also sets you up to be in a much better place to be motivated to actually make change, while also being more compassionate with yourself when you slip back into old patterns. The goal of wanting to be able to keep up with your child is way more motivating then just trying to get that number to go down on the scale. And maybe it wasn't just that you didn't have enough will power to not eat that cookie, but that you were feeling particularly lonely and unloved in that moment. So then we can have compassion for that part of ourselves, and ask what are some other ways for next time that we could try to address this need more directly?
As we learn to pause and listen, to ask with curiosity what is actually going on, what the actual need is, then that moment of conscious choice appears and we begin to feel more empowered to move towards a life of vibrant health of our choosing.
Do you want to explore this idea more? This evening, Wednesday, September 19th, from 7-8:30pm I will be doing a free workshop at the Bliss Spiritual Coop in Mt. Pleasant where we explore as a group how our culture defines health, and dive deeper into how each of you, personally, wants to define health. Find the full details on the meet up page here.
Can't make it tonight but eager to accelerate your journey towards health? My first health coaching session with potential clients is always a Free one hour consultation, as I feel it is important we get to know each other and see if we are a good fit. Contact me today to set up an appointment, in person or via phone, to start your journey.
I leave you with a quote that has been a dear friend to me, from Pema Chodron, about embracing whatever my current experience is. It is all information, from which you then always have a choice, and no choice is inherently better or worse than another, just a choice, as each moment is also a new moment to make yet another choice...
"The path to unshakeable well being lies in being completely present and open to all sights, all sounds, all thoughts--never withdrawing, never hiding, never needing to jazz them up or to tone them down"
- Pema Chondron